Back from Europe and no worse for wear. Better for it, actually. And rather than cram a two week stint into one blog post, I'll divvy it up into city-sized chunks to be digested over a number of days.
Florence: the first - and best - stop. It felt like home. So yes - it was good to be back - but it was even better to see Eryn and Alex after a drought of nearly three years - THREE! That's not to say it wasn't good to see Rachel, but we knew we'd have over two weeks to rekindle our bond... and we sure did.
I think I was able to do everything I'd really wanted to do... I didn't go to a lot of new places (other than restaurants), but I was able to revisit the Florence I knew, which is what I needed. Fiddler's Elbow, Art Bar, the Mercato, SACI, and of course, Sad Gelato Man (best and most-anticipated reunion/picture ever!) Just the first lunch date with Eryn and A-Town would have made that trip worth it. "You're a gum-splitter, too??" It felt so right, so natural... can we have lunches like that once a week, please?
There was a grand dinner at il Latini, where we met all the parental units and plowed our way through probably six or seven glorious courses. It consisted of a nearly-pornographic amount of prosciutto, as well as amazing pasta and meat dishes, and wine for the sipping (swilling?) I don't think I've ever indulged (read: gorged) myself on so much food in my life. The delightful pain of it all, rolling Rachel and myself back to the doors of Hotel Tina!
The wedding - the Big A, as it were - was lovely. The couple looked so beautiful/handsome - so fresh and young... dare I say... "glowing?" Siiigh. The marriage ceremony was short, simple and civil - my type of ceremony. Still, tears flowed like a river of doves from the beard of Zeus. The two of them were so delightfully themselves. Eryn was not a "Bridezilla," in spite of her painful heels, which she wore like a champ, and A-Town cracked jokes and was as much himself as at any other time. Two people who belong together, just getting married alongside friends and family and enjoying the day... joined by the bonds of love. And you cannot track that, not with a thousand bloodhounds, and you cannot break it, not with a thousand swords... name that movie! I wanted to quote it the entire day, but I refrained.
The post-wedding dinner - oh the dinner! Served at La Terrazza del Principe on the other side of the Arno, up in the Tuscan hills past Boboli Garden, I had, what was probably the best meal of my life. A-Town and I couldn't get over the eggplant rigatoni... The dish could have been crafted by Michelangelo himself, it was so magnificent. Eryn, you get an extra bazillion awesome points for tracking down that place. Rachel and I parted with our beloved fellow-Bufas on hilltop, rather unceremoniously, but in the words of Helen, "whatever"... I shall see them again. Hopefully, relatively soon. None of this three years crap...
I'll eventually attach more pictures to this post - specifically some from the day of the Big A, when I get my act together.